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An interesting “Liberal Democrat”

That is what she is, it seems. A member of the House of Lords, Jenny Tonge has arguably now gone so crazy that the police might get involved, although as a libertarian, I defend freedom of speech absolutely, so I think any criminal prosecution would be wrong, just as I defend the right of a political party to eject her, shame her and put her head on a metaphorical spike outside the Tower of London.

Breaking: She has now resigned the Liberal Democrat whip. It is extraordinary she has been allowed to hang on for so long.

As Nick Cohen has written:

“The Israeli-Palestinian conflict explains the shabbiness of Lib Dem thought as it explains so many other shabby arguments circulating in Europe. Its leaders ought to know that the only moral position to take is to support a two-state solution in which a free and democratic Palestine lives alongside Israel with borders that approximate the dividing lines of 1967. In theory, everyone except far-leftists, Islamists and neo-Nazis knows this. In practice, Lib Dem opinion has been seized by a reactionary version of radical chic in which murder is celebrated and racism dignified.”

And later on, he writes this crushing paragraph:

“As it is impossible to write about Jews in the present climate and expect to have a sensible debate, let me replace them with blacks. Suppose a leading Lib Dem peer had said that black people were by their nature mentally inferior to whites. Would you expect liberal society to be satisfied if Clegg did not expel her from the party and screamed and shouted about his honour instead? I suspect most people would demand that he proved he knew the meaning of the word by taking action. Suppose the same Liberal peer were to go on to bring up the most poisonous myth of white supremacy and say that young black men were touring the cities looking for white women to rape. In those circumstances liberal society would consider it outrageous if Lord Wallace were to dismiss complaints by saying, “The reason why we resist expelling her from the party is that we do sadly find the current Zanu-PF party very intolerant of all criticism.”

The woman is a piece of delusional scum. There’s no need to be polite. Sorry if this offends anyone.

It is richly ironic that a party with the name “liberal” in it contains such a character. Guido has more on the background.

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14 comments to An interesting “Liberal Democrat”

  • Sigivald

    Its leaders ought to know that the only moral position to take is to support a two-state solution in which a free and democratic Palestine lives alongside Israel with borders that approximate the dividing lines of 1967

    Huh. That’s the only moral position to take?

    I can certainly agree that it is a moral position (if a somewhat delusional one, given the current likelihood of a “democratic Palestine” willing to “live alongside Israel”) – but the only one?

    I wasn’t aware that the borders of 1967 were somehow morally pure in a way that the borders of immediately after 1967 were not.

    Politically convenient, yes. Automatically more moral, no.

  • Monty

    I suspect any police involvement might arise from the decision of the organisers of one of the meetings to expel “known Jews” from the venue, and the berating by OKeefe of jewish audience members at the other.

  • How is what she said here any different to her past behaviour?

    Sounds like her historically standard approach to me.

  • Mose Jefferson

    Sigivald, the moral argument which advocates Israel’s return to pre-’67 borders is based on the idea that it isn’t right to take territory from another nation by war. Which is the most historically ignorant moral stance ever in the history of everything. I’m thinking we’d have to redraw much more than just Israel’s borders, if such were our moral stance. Unless we only hated jews, in which case Israel’s borders are all we’d fuss about.

  • Schrodinger's Dog

    Her comments her extremely unpleasant, and she may be crazy, but surely no libertarian can condone that she may be prosecuted simply for what she said.

  • Laird

    Perhaps not, SD, but since “hate” crimes are a particular favorite of these loony leftists you’d have to have a heart of stone not to laugh when one of them is hoist on that particular petard. Don’t you just love the smell of schadenfreude in the morning?

  • Sigivald, the moral argument which advocates Israel’s return to pre-’67 borders is based on the idea that it isn’t right to take territory from another nation by war.

    Except the 1967 borders are themselves the ceasefire line of the 1948 war, so I don’t know what the argument is. “It is okay to take land by force in a war or independence, but not after that”? (If so, doesn’t say much for the United States). Who really knows. Like most other people, I think it would be great if we could have a peaceful and prosperous Palestinian state sitting next to Israel, but the goodwill to create such a thing is not there, alas.

  • Julie near Chicago

    What Laird said. :>)

  • guy herbert

    The real mystery of Jenny Tonge is why she was sent to the Lords and appointed a shadow minister there by the Liberal Democrats after she had already badly embarrassed them as an MP on this very same issue.

    This isn’t a case of someone with odd views ending up in parliament by the hereditary principle, or going batty in old age, or being picked for a safe seat by a weird constituency party or primary mechanism. In 2005 Charles Kennedy’s advisers looked around at the available personnel and thought Jenny Tonge was a better candidate as a Liberal Democrat peer than any thousands of lawyers, doctors, teachers, celebs and party workers they could have chosen, including all the dozens of LibDem peers created after her.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    “Her comments her extremely unpleasant, and she may be crazy, but surely no libertarian can condone that she may be prosecuted simply for what she said.”

    Indeed, hence why I wrote that I opposed such action against her on free speech grounds.

    The difference between toleration and approval is something that needs to be hammered home, relentlessly.

    I should add, as a caveat, that I tend to get a bit suspicious of people who, whenever they talk about free speech, always cite the example of Holocaust denial, rather than take a less obnoxious example. Such folk might be sincere, but I have come to wonder whether they quite pass the intellectual “smell test”, so to speak.

    Guy: yes, Tonge’s elevation to the Lords speaks very badly for the judgement of the LibDems. I fear that some of them have become Chomskyite idiots.

  • JAWolf

    On the other hand, what better way to destroy the speech codes than victimize the lefties and their allies with them?

  • Sunfish

    Karma’s a bitch. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

  • David Gillies

    As a libertarian, I am absolutely against legal restrictions on free speech (except in the case of real, demonstrable incitement to violence). As a libertarian, I am staunchly in favour of people like Tonge being condemned, ostracised and driven from public life. As the great P. J. O’Rourke (PBUH) wrote, “There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.”